Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tuskegee talking national titles, not Turkey Day Classic

MONTGOMERY, Alabama --Tuskegee senior quarterback Justin Nared enjoyed playing against Alabama State in the Turkey Day Classic, but he doesn't miss the annual game.

He and Golden Tigers are focused on a different prize -- winning a national championship.

"Without playing the Turkey Day Classic, the atmosphere with the team and around the guys is we can be national champions versus HBCU champions or Turkey Day Classic champions," he said. "We have the opportunity to be (NCAA) Division II national champions. That's been preached about, talked about. Being Division I national champions and we have the opportunity to do that now. "


FAMU staff change moves Holmes back to defensive coordinator

NORFOLK, Virginia -- Earl Holmes’ football staff will be a little smaller this season, but he said he has already rearranged the duties of his assistants to make up for being short-handed.

Holmes finds himself having to make the changes because of cuts by athletics director Kellen Winslow in an effort to save money in his department. The cuts cost Holmes his defensive line coach George Small and tight ends assistant Brian Gilmore their jobs.

In the reshuffling, linebackers coach Levan Kirkland will coach the defensive line, while Holmes returns to being defensive coordinator. He held the position before becoming head coach last year.

Edwin Pata will continue with the offensive line and tight ends. Receivers coach Ernie Mills will help Pata with the tight ends, Holmes said.


Smaller college football teams in second-and-short situation

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — They'd like to get paid, too.

With all the talk about paying Division I-A college football players and power leagues that are seeking more autonomy to provide full cost-of-attendance and other benefits, athletes at Division I-AA schools like Alabama State and Division II schools like Tuskegee also want to share in the wealth.

"It sucks," Alabama State senior defensive tackle Derrick Billups said. "I feel like we deserve money, but I don't really complain about it. It would help out a whole lot if student-athletes received money because it's tough in college. All our parents aren't blessed financially."

The "Big Five" proposal of the 65 schools in the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 to provide full cost-of-attendance, medical care and insurance as well as to fund trips for family members to visit athletes is up for a final vote next month. NCAA I-AA and D-II programs may never receive those benefits, but Southern coach Dawson Odums described a way to address the needs of players at their level.


Hampton picked seventh in MEAC, aims to prove skeptics wrong

NORFOLK, Virginia  --  Miles Grooms likes the vibe around the Hampton University football program. New coaching staff, new faces, guys hungry after several seasons in the MEAC muddle.

"Our approach to the game is different," the Pirates' all-conference defensive end said. "The way we prepare, the way we work out. Everything is different. And it's better. We're all working harder. We're listening to the coaches. The young guys are listening to the leaders, following their lead. I think it's going to be a major turnaround this season."

Grooms and versatile offensive yardage machine Jorrian Washington were HU's representatives at Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football media day Friday, where the league's coaches and sports information personnel picked the Pirates seventh in the preseason poll.


Bowie State's Lee, Brown, Diaz-Aviles and McDaniel Voted Preseason All-CIAA

(L to R /Top to Bottom) Khari Lee, Keith Brown,
Mario Diaz-Aviles and Anthony McDaniel
DURHAM, North Carolina -- The Bowie State University football team has been predicted to finish 6th in the CIAA and 3rd in the Northern Division according to the 2014 conference preseason poll, which was released during the league's football press conference at the Durham Convention Center.

The Bulldogs return 42 lettermen including 14 starters from last year's squad. Bowie State finished the 2013 campaign with a 5-5 overall record and 3-4 record in the CIAA.

Seniors Khari Lee (TE - Baltimore, Md.), Keith Brown (RB – Temple Hills, Md.), Mario Diaz-Aviles (PK – Washington, D.C.) and Anthony McDaniel (DL – Fort Washington, Md.) were selected to the 2014 All-CIAA Preseason Team. The conference Predicted Order of Finish and Preseason Team are voted on by the CIAA Football Coaches Association.

For the third consecutive year, the defending CIAA Champions of Winston-Salem State University were selected to finish as the top team in the conference in 2014 followed by Fayetteville State University, Virginia State University, Shaw University and Elizabeth City State University made up the top five teams. Bowie State was voted as the sixth overall ranked team in the conference followed by Johnson C. Smith University, Chowan University, Saint Augustine's University, Virginia Union University, Livingstone College and Lincoln (Pa.).

Bowie State will open up the season on September 6th, hosting the Saint Anselm College Hawks of Manchester, N.H. at 1 pm. St. Anselm is a member of the Northeast-10 Conference and finished the 2013 season with an overall record of 2-9 (1-7 in the conference). The Bulldogs captured a 42-28 victory in last years' season opener on the Hawks home field.


Shaw picked third, St. Aug's fifth in CIAA football

DURHAM, North Carolina -- Winston-Salem State was picked to win the South Division and Virginia State was picked to win the North at the CIAA football media day Thursday in Durham.

In the South Division, Fayetteville State was picked second, Shaw third and St. Augustine’s fifth.

Winston-Salem State has won the past two titles. Shaw won it in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Winston-Salem State has a new head coach in former defensive coordinator Kienus Boulware but Boulware will have 18 starters back. One of those is All-CIAA quarterback Rudy Johnson, a senior.

Shaw, coached by Robert Massey, was 6-4 last season and closed with a 32-14 win over St. Augustine’s has a defensive line Massey says is “the best defensive line in the country.”


Football: Fisher to be preferred walk-on at Winston-Salem State

NEW BERN, North Carolina  --  Felix Fisher didn’t know if he’d get his shot of playing football in college. Then Winston-Salem State called.

The former New Bern defensive back was hoping to continue his playing career. Then, one morning, the coaches at Winston-Salem State left a message, offering him a spot as a preferred walk-on.
Fisher jumped at the chance.

“I just have to go there and show them what I can do. They are giving me this opportunity to show my skills,” Fisher said.

Fisher was accepted into the college and took a visit in April. It wasn’t until recently when he received the good news.